The Puffin Bird Population in Maine Is Growing Again

Researchers looking at the Atlantic puffin population off the coast of Maine report that after significant losses in 2021, the birds are already rebounding. Penguins and Atlantic puffins have similar appearances and gaits. According to wildlife experts, there was a significant decline in the number of off-shore islands’ animal reproductive in 2021. However, almost two-thirds of the puffins in the region gave birth to young last year. The birds enjoyed a better year than in 2021 even though their numbers did not quite reach that level this year. The population decline of the small fish that puffins eat, such herring, is the primary cause of the decline in numbers.


Environmental organizations have connected the region’s declining fish populations to rising sea temperatures. With puffin populations on its islands, the Gulf of Maine is warming more quickly than most waters in the world. Local climate officials have stated that this summer looks to have been “still unusually warm,” despite some recent years being exceptionally warm. At the California-based conservation nonprofit Farallon Institute, Bill Sydeman serves as both president and chief scientist. He told The Associated Press that the decline in puffin population is caused by lethal heat waves, food scarcity, islands lost to sea level rise, and the birds’ incapacity to nest or reproduce.


The only Atlantic puffins that breed in the United States are those found in Maine. The species is found throughout the North Atlantic, extending from Maine and Canada to Europe. There has been a decline in bird numbers in other nations with significant puffin populations, like Iceland. In the region known as Matinicus Rock, the number of puffins in Maine once decreased to only roughly 70 couples. By the early 1900s, hunters going after the birds for their meat and feathers had all but killed them. Since the 1970s, biologist Stephen Kress of the Audubon Society has worked to establish puffin colonies. Among his endeavors was the relocation of juvenile puffins from Canada to Eastern Egg Rock, a nearby little island.


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